A couple of people in totally unrelated situations have come to me lately to talk because they are at the end of their rope. They have exhausted everything they can think of to do. They see no possible way out of their situation. They have tried and tried to no avail. Nothing has worked and there is nothing else they can do. After they poured out their broken, weary hearts, I wanted to say with excitement, “That’s such a good place to be!” Yet I have to do it kindly—because I’ve been where they are. I know how painfully hopeless it can seem. I know how it feels to give it everything you can possibly give—and for it not to be enough. But, it is actually one of the best places to be.
Father, it is when we have come to the end of ourselves and our own ideas—that we realize we can do nothing. That is a ripe time for people to simply surrender their will to You. What they see as a hopeless situation, You see as the possibility for a new beginning with You. When there is nowhere else to turn, it is an opportunity for them to turn to You. It has to be our choice to turn to You—not to tell You how we want You to work things out, but to admit that we can do nothing through our own strength, wisdom, plans, and will. It is obvious that our own plans have failed. Now, we can ask You to accomplish Your will in our lives with no thoughts or ideas of our own. We can truly ask You to take over. We can finally surrender our own ways and be open to Yours.
Lord, I know You see deep into our hearts. You know what a painful place it can be to surrender our own will. Your Son Jesus had to struggle through that same place in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He willingly headed to the cross. It is when we give up and let You know there is nothing we can do…when You say, be still and watch what I can do through a surrendered will. Lord, help me become better at surrendering before I’ve tried absolutely everything else. Help me learn that I can do something—I can surrender my will daily and pray for Your will to be done. Then let me watch what You do in and through me. I pray the same for these two people I love who are at this place right now.
Jesus prayed…”My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
“Then He said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for ME will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from ME you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Father, I admit I can do nothing apart from You. I surrender…
There is one thing I can absolutely count on—that You are with me, Lord.
You have been with me always—even before I was conceived You knew me and the plans You had for me. You have been with me when I felt all alone. You have been with me when it seemed the whole world was against me. You have been with me when I was so wrong and undeserving. You have been with me when I demanded my own way. You have been with me when I thought I knew it all and when I found out how little I knew. You have been with me through gut-wrenching cries and gushing tears of joy. You have been with me through painful heartbreak and happy reconciliation. You have been with me when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from as well as times I thought I would burst if You added more blessings.
You have been with me through the births and deaths of those I love. You have been with me through both epic failures and celebrations of success. You have been with me through fearful situations where there was no apparent way out—where You opened up an unseen door to miraculous outcomes. You have been with me in dark evil places and brought me into glorious light. You have been with me when the enemy tries to destroy me, and have protected me more than I will ever know. You have been with me when I have complained, whined, balked, rebelled and sinned against You. You have been with me when I have been humbled by Your truth and have gladly surrendered to Your will.
Lord, You have never left me and I know You never will. You are always calling me forward to new places with You. When I am slow or reluctant to follow, You wait for me or urge me on. You have a final destination to take me, but You are with me on this journey right now. There is no where I can go where You are not with me. There is nothing I will face without You. What a beautiful assurance of Your love. You are with me always to the end of this age and beyond. I love You.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Father, thank You for being with me when…
There is so much evil, tragedy and darkness that calls us to despair today. We hear of mass murder where many unarmed people are gunned down while enjoying music, of throngs of people walking unarmed to ask for their independence killed by machine guns, of terrorist attacks in neighborhoods and shopping areas, bombings and slavery just to name a few. It’s easy to give in to feeling hopeless about this world. But, Lord, since we belong to Your kingdom, our true citizenship is not of this world. We belong to You and we long for our true home where there is no more death, evil, hate, abuse, violence and disaster. Your kingdom is full of light, hope, love and peace. You have an eternal home waiting for us that is more than we could ever hope for.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the US Embassy in Cameroon, as I was trying to help my missionary friends when killing and violence broke out all around them. I had a rough awakening as I found that just because someone is a US citizen in a foreign country, that does not protect them from evil in this world. My friends were called by You to go to this country in Africa to shine out for You and spread the true hope found in Jesus Christ. They were called to be ambassadors for Your Kingdom which is not limited like earthly governments. They were called to go into a country which they knew could be unstable to bring the hope of eternity with You. They willingly went and they stayed in the midst of horror and chaos to hold out true hope.
That’s what You did for us in Jesus. You sent Him from heaven to be born as one of us, yet completely innocent. You sent Him to die for our sin, so we could receive eternal life with You. Because of Jesus, we have so much now (even in this crazy world) and so much more to look forward to. Yet there are so many who do not have that hope of a home with You. That’s why once we belong to Your kingdom, You send us as ambassadors into a dark chaotic world to share the hope of Jesus Christ. Will we give in to the hopelessness we see around us—or do we keep our eyes on You so we can continue help more people caught in the hopelessness find eternal life through Jesus Christ? Help us stand strong, remain calm in You, trust in Your plan, and tell the good news. Let us be ambassadors for Your eternal kingdom, Lord, wherever we happen to be in this harsh world.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18
Father, let me keep my eyes on You so I can…
I am going to truly savor this moment because I will never have it again. Each moment is beautiful and unique in its own way. Most of all, it becomes priceless when I share it with You. It will only last a second but it becomes eternal when I live it with You. My awareness of Your very presence changes everything. I’ve been told that You, Lord God Almighty, created me and have been with me since the beginning; yet when I draw close to You in the present moment, my moments become eternal filled with purpose, joy and completeness. The only way I can draw close to You without sin is through Jesus Christ.
Any moment can become holy when I live it with You: when I look at an angry fit-throwing toddler and see through Your eyes the need for love and guidance; when I stand at the washer sorting through another mountain of dirty socks and underwear, I am humbled by the tender ways You continually care for us; when a dear family I love is spending what seems to be the last days of a loved one’s life, I know each moment is precious, short and eternal all at the same time; when I sit on the patio with a cup of coffee and am quiet in Your presence, You fill me, refresh and restore me; when I am stuck in traffic and I’m late to get to my destination, I am grateful for Your reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment; when someone is rude, You give me insight they need extra prayer; when I hear bad news, I stop and turn to You and recall that You are in control and will work all things together for good for those who love You; when I start to worry about one of my children or grandchildren, You remind me of how You helped me through all my trials and drew me closer to You—I can trust You to do that with them, as well; when I hear of riots, earthquakes, and hurricanes, I know there will be many turning to You in the midst of those painful disasters; when I see a single flower bloom, or trees swaying in the breeze, I revel in Your glory that surrounds us with such beauty.
Any moment becomes holy and eternal with You, Lord. All I have to do is stop and turn to You. It can be a dull boring moment, a scary moment, a painful moment, a tearful moment, a peaceful moment, a confusing moment, a weary moment… all moments are given by You and can become holy just by turning to You. Most of all, I thank You for that eternal moment when You sent Jesus to die for my sins and be raised again so I could choose to live forever with You. That moment changed everything! May all my moments be lived with You—forever!
“But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8b—10
“But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…” Psalm 31:14—15a
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Heavenly Father, help me share this moment with You…
As we get reports on different stories coming out of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey dumping torrential rains and causing widespread flooding, I am once again reminded of Your eternal presence no matter what we have to go through. So far, I have heard of 15 deaths and over 500 deep water rescues. Countless homes, schools, churches and communities are under water right now. Businesses, earthly investments, and worldly dreams may have been blown apart or drowned in the powerful winds and deep waters…but even more valuable eternal riches are being discovered in a new way.
When our earthly security is shaken, we often turn more fully to You, Lord, for our eternal security. We may lose everything including our home, only to find that You are our everlasting shelter. We could lose a loved one, and find that You never ever leave us. Our dream of a business might be washed away, but hopefully we find Your kingdom which stands forever. We, or someone we know, may have come eerily close to death, only to find eternal life through Jesus Christ.
We will continue to see and hear more reports of devastation and rescues from this tropical storm. As we watch and pray, may we be reminded that what looks like the end is often the beginning. As we pray for those in the midst of pain and suffering, may we pray with confidence that You are right there with them- each in a very personal way, coaching them on, opening their eyes to the eternal new life before them found in Jesus Christ. Some hurricanes come in the form of water, others come in the form of cancer, chronic or terminal illness, death of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, a lost job, a legal mess, a broken relationship…It may truly appear as the end for those going through it; but I pray it is just the beginning of an ever deepening relationship with You. That’s what true life is. I love You, Lord.
“You will hear of wars and rumors of war, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pangs.” Matthew 24:6-8
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:1-2
“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith? He asked the disciples.” Luke 8:23-25
Father, I pray for those going through the flooding from the hurricane…and for me to see You in my own hurricane…
Most Holy Father,
There is only one time in my life I can recall feeling like I had lost all hope. What a horrible experience to be without hope. No one should be without it. It didn’t last long for me…maybe just long enough to get a taste of it so I could recognize it and have compassion for those without it. My most hopeless time came when my first husband Steve “died in my arms” after a long battle with a terminal illness. He was brought back, but the hopelessness came from knowing there was no way he was getting through the sickness without dying. We both already knew in our minds he would eventually succumb to death, but that practice run made it all too real.
The strange thing was that at our lowest point of hopelessness, we found a hope that could never be taken away. That trial run at death also gave him a practice run to heaven. There is no greater hope to help us through this life than to trust in Jesus whom You sent to save us from our hopeless situation. Only He was worthy to pay the price for our sins through giving His own pure life as a sacrifice. No matter what goes on in this world; no matter what anyone can do to us; no matter how hopeless the world or our personal situation can appear…our hope is in Jesus Christ. When we have that hope, we can hold on to You, Lord, knowing that any kind of suffering we must endure here will all fade away in Your glorious presence. Our hope is in You and Your Son and Your Holy Spirit, even though we cannot see You with our earthly eyes.
About a year after that trial run, Steve took his last breath and graduated from this life. He no longer needs hope. It is reality. He is living a life that is more than he could ever hope for or imagine. Over 24 years ago, right after Steve’s death, I began going to a group at a hospital designed to help those who were grieving. Yet the emphasis on eternal life was missing. It was heartbreaking to hear the hopelessness in most of the people. If death is the end, and there is no hope of eternal life with You, what hope is there? Ever since, I know I need to always hold on to my hope in You so I can share that eternal invincible hope with others. There is no hope without Him. Jesus Christ is our hope. There is nothing more real!
PS. Happy birthday in heaven, Steve!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans15:13
Heavenly Father, my hope is in…